My oldest

Discuss the ins and outs of the showring.
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Craig Miller
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My oldest

Postby Craig Miller » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:12 pm

Has expressed some interest in showing. He is 8 now 9 in the fall. I think they have to be 9 to show. We recently changed county 4 h clubs and this one seems to be more active in the farm stuff and less in the other stuff. I dont know anything about showing. What age are you buying these calfs? How long does it take to get one ready? Other questions later probably.
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Bigfoot
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Re: My oldest

Postby Bigfoot » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:24 pm

What is he interested in showing heifers or steers?
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Re: My oldest

Postby Craig Miller » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:57 pm

I dont think he has said either. I know so little about showing i kinda thought they showed either. :lol:
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Re: My oldest

Postby Bigfoot » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:09 pm

Just some advice---------A steer is a terminal project of course. To be competitive you'll need to put some cash into purchasing the animal, plus a ton of feed. A heifer project, you can go with a commercial heifer. Let it run on grass, and cut your feed bill way down. Plus the heifer, you keep it when it's done. Might be a nice way to start a herd. If you went the registered route, your getting in to big money purchases again. Which would be fine, if you wanted to raise registered cattle.

With a heifer, you can go as small or as young as you like. Kinda match the kid with something he can handle. Not so much with a steer. Plus you may have a crossbred heifer that is flashy enough to work. If not, they are plentiful.
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Re: My oldest

Postby Bigfoot » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:17 pm

Ask your 4h agent about ages. Here, your not 9 till January 1st the year after you turn 9. That sounds silly, but that's how it works here. We had been fairly active in 4h goat showing, entering crops etc. showed up at a horse show, and got the boot. it didn't really offend me, we just didn't know the rules. Evidently, there are things that a younger kid can do, and things they can't do.
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Re: My oldest

Postby shortybreeder » Sun Mar 22, 2015 10:58 pm

In our area you are considered a "cloverbud" until after you complete 6th grade, and cloverbuds show calves by holding onto the end of the rope while mom or dad leads the calf. Cloverbud calves are usually bottle calves, born before May 1st (due to registration deadlines). If you have "cloverbuds" in your state, I wouldn't buy anything fancy to show, I'd just go to the nearest salesbarn and buy a 2-3 day old beef calf and then feed it milk replacer for 8 weeks before weaning it and putting it on a mostly hay diet with a couple pounds of grain per day. If you buy a bull calf you will have to have it castrated before the show, we usually castrate our bottle calves between 1 and 2 months of age. I would suggest buying a little bull calf because then it can be sort of a family project and in 2 years you get to butcher him and either eat him yourselves or sell the quarters to your neighbors. If you decide to get a heifer that will become a breeding project for making future show calves, then you will want to spend a little more the 1st year to get a quality animal otherwise you could be coming in the bottom half of the class for a loooong time, which can be very disheartening for a child. You don't need to start out with a champion animal, just get one that has the right pieces to work with (good feet/legs and proper structure) because you can make your own champion if you start with a solid foundation. Just my :2cents: and let me know if you have any more questions.

Also, as a shorthorn breeder I am gonna recommend getting a nice shorthorn influenced calf for the 1st calf because the temperament tends to be much easier to handle. I bought a purebred heifer out of feedlot (never been handled or trained for show) 7 days ago and she's already broke to tie, and stands calmly while I brush her without a halter on or any other sort of restraint. I walk into her pen with the comb, and she just sits there chewing her cud while I brush her.
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Re: My oldest

Postby hillsdown » Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:49 pm

As a "mom" of a new 4H'r my advice is to be prepared to have VERY DEEP pockets and do most of the work yourself. The feed bill alone is unbelievable. We still have 2 months more to feed and am already over $3500.00 in 4H ration and that does not count the $2000.00 purchase price for the steer as well as the hay, mineral, vaccination's, deworming and bedding. Before you sign up talk to the members and find out ahead of time just how helpful they are going to be or if it will be all for one. Will you have to buy your own blower, clippers on top of all of the brushes and fitting supplies?

A heifer to be competitive will have to be pushed as well, and that takes a little bit more expertise than a steer and you can ruin a good heifer by pushing her too hard for too long especially before she is bred. Then you need to get her back in working clothes condition so she can calve without problems.

Don't get me wrong as I really think 4H is a good thing but had I known ahead of time how much was expected of me financially as well as time wise I never would have signed him up, especially since the main part of our 4H group are just in it to make themselves look good and to heck with anyone else.

This will be the last year he does a steer, do not need that expense or the headache. Also with the lay offs in the oilfield sector I doubt many kids are even going to be able to sell their steers this year as they are always the majority of the buyers. Could be some families stuck with some very expensive steers come June.
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Re: My oldest

Postby AllForage » Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:21 pm

hillsdown wrote:As a "mom" of a new 4H'r my advice is to be prepared to have VERY DEEP pockets and do most of the work yourself. The feed bill alone is unbelievable. We still have 2 months more to feed and am already over $3500.00 in 4H ration and that does not count the $2000.00 purchase price for the steer as well as the hay, mineral, vaccination's, deworming and bedding. Before you sign up talk to the members and find out ahead of time just how helpful they are going to be or if it will be all for one. Will you have to buy your own blower, clippers on top of all of the brushes and fitting supplies?

A heifer to be competitive will have to be pushed as well, and that takes a little bit more expertise than a steer and you can ruin a good heifer by pushing her too hard for too long especially before she is bred. Then you need to get her back in working clothes condition so she can calve without problems.

Don't get me wrong as I really think 4H is a good thing but had I known ahead of time how much was expected of me financially as well as time wise I never would have signed him up, especially since the main part of our 4H group are just in it to make themselves look good and to heck with anyone else.

This will be the last year he does a steer, do not need that expense or the headache. Also with the lay offs in the oilfield sector I doubt many kids are even going to be able to sell their steers this year as they are always the majority of the buyers. Could be some families stuck with some very expensive steers come June.



Thanks Hillsdown for this honest post, you just re-enforced my belief in having my kids doing real chores and not draining my wallet. :)
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Re: My oldest

Postby Craig Miller » Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:32 pm

Sounds like the most money wins. Hes feeding a bottle calf now. After reading that maybe the calf will keep him happy for a while.
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Re: My oldest

Postby Bigfoot » Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:17 pm

Craig Miller wrote:Sounds like the most money wins. Hes feeding a bottle calf now. After reading that maybe the calf will keep him happy for a while.


A commercial heifer entered in an AOB class wouldn't be to terribly expensive. You might feed it a little more than just a heifer your keeping for a cow, but you wouldn't have to put a fortune in it.
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Re: My oldest

Postby branguscowgirl » Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:58 pm

HD instead of 4H, have you thought about doing just the Open classes like I do? We have Jr. Classes and kids of all ages showing in the breed classes. (Heifers, pairs and bulls.) Seems like it would be a lot less head ache. (I remember your past comments about the group thing.)
My cattle are always fat during summer on my pasture. I pull a couple in and halter break and shave them a couple months before, and that's it. Leave them out all day to graze, tie um up a couple hours in the evening. (I realize you will have some hair stuff to do, Brangus show slick.)
But it is so much easier than doing steers........
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Re: My oldest

Postby Ana » Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:35 pm

Craig Miller wrote:Sounds like the most money wins. Hes feeding a bottle calf now. After reading that maybe the calf will keep him happy for a while.


Talk to some folks who show at your county fair before you give up. Every county is different. At plenty of 4-H fairs commercial steers and heifers make up most of the entries, and you won't necessarily find the prized show cattle at the top of the heap on sale day. That tends to be more about Mom and Dad's connections and how cute the kid is.

There are several commercial producers in our neck of the woods who are happy to let 4-H kids take first pick of their calf crop each year and a few are known to knock off a few cents per pound, because they like supporting the local youth. You end up with a decent calf for a reasonable price and the rest is fitting anyway.

If your main goal is to take home grand champion obviously this isn't the best approach, but if your goal is to teach your kid about bringing up livestock of their own, marketing the product and then managing the money to do it all over again you don't need to put a pretty penny into a show calf. YMMV.
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Re: My oldest

Postby VCC » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:22 pm

I will say my kids had a great time showing Market Beef at the fair, we also did some of the jackpot shows each year. It is a long time consuming project, if the child is dedicated and you have the time (1-2 hours a day) it can well worth it. You end up spending a lot of time together and creating some good memories and stories. If your child has a full plate of activities and you are always busy, a hog may be a better choice to start with. If you are in it to just make money, it is not a good project for that, if you want your child to learn responsibility, time management, animal husbandry, it can do that.

You can make money depending on your area and how the fair in your area works. We had buyers that came back every year and would purchase the kids animals. So they either made money or broke even. We started with commercial calves and worked up to calves bred for shows, but we won with calves that were not way over priced usually 600 to 1000 over market value. So it can be done.

We picked up our calves in late October early November for an early July show, so you have them for 8 to 9 months. Calves for our fair were January to March calves, depending on the calf; they are usually between 600 and 750 pounds at the start.

We never fed over 25 pounds of grain a day. We would add beet pulp plus 2 pounds of stabilized rice bran and 2 pounds of Calf Manna a day, the last few months, along with free choice hay the entire time. (We fed 3-way grain hay or Bermuda just depended on the animal’s needs) If you average 3 pounds a day you will be increasing your feed about 3 pounds every month the first few months. Our calves averaged between 3 and 4 ADG each year

Once on full feed a calf should be eating between 2 and 3 percent of his body weight a day:

600 =18 11 bags of feed that month, $15 a bag = $165, $50 for hay
700=21 13 bags = $195 + $50 for hay
800=24 15 bags =$225 +$50 for hay
From here on I fed the same amount of grain daily depending on what the calf needed depended on what we supplemented with, fat or protein.

The last 3 to 4 months; beet pulp $16 a bag 4 pounds a day =12.5 days a bag or 5 bags every 2 months for the last 4 months or $160 another $120 in Rice bran and $120 Calf-manna, $200 in misc. (wormer, medication, grooming products)
Steer Commercial $1200-1500, show calf $1800 – whatever you want to pay.

$1800+2510+200=$4510, you can find cheaper feed buy buying in bulk, we did not have that option in our area.

Hope that helps.
Last edited by VCC on Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My oldest

Postby hillsdown » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:51 pm

branguscowgirl wrote:HD instead of 4H, have you thought about doing just the Open classes like I do? We have Jr. Classes and kids of all ages showing in the breed classes. (Heifers, pairs and bulls.) Seems like it would be a lot less head ache. (I remember your past comments about the group thing.)
My cattle are always fat during summer on my pasture. I pull a couple in and halter break and shave them a couple months before, and that's it. Leave them out all day to graze, tie um up a couple hours in the evening. (I realize you will have some hair stuff to do, Brangus show slick.)
But it is so much easier than doing steers........


This will be the last year for a steer Brangus, and as you suggested we will be more active in our association. I will let you know by the 1st week of June if we will continue in 4H. It really is not what it used to be, a few bad apples have ruined it for so many families that have been involved for generations. I know that it is completely different in other areas.

4H is a valuable organization in the right hands, like has been said if you have the time and the money to invest and your kids show initiative to learn and have a good work ethic it can also look great on a college application too.
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